The current state of science journalism in South Africa : perspectives of industry insiders

Van Zuydam, Eleanor (2019-04)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Science news reporting in the South African media does not enjoy the same status as other beats such as politics, sport and business. While extensive research has been conducted into the importance and quality of science journalism in South Africa, on the African continent and globally, current research regarding the personal experiences and perceptions of science journalists in South Africa is in short supply. This study examines the current state of science journalism in South Africa, according to industry insiders. The research was conducted using the interpretive paradigm and phenomenological approach in social theory as theoretical framework. The researcher employed qualitative or interpretive research methods and undertook a participant observation study. Data was collected through qualitative, semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 20 science journalists, science communicators and science writers in South Africa. The researcher investigated participants’ opinions and perceptions regarding the current state of science journalism, challenges in the field of science journalism, the relationship between scientists and journalists, the role of science communication, the value of postgraduate studies in science journalism, the importance and value of the South African Science Journalists’ Association and the future of science journalism in South Africa. The research found that there were both positive and negative sentiments on the part of the participants regarding the state of science journalism in South Africa.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Verslaggewing oor wetenskap in die Suid-Afrikaanse media geniet nie dieselfde status as ander spesialisvelde soos die politiek, sport en ekonomie nie. Alhoewel uitgebreide navorsing al gedoen is oor die belangrikheid en kwaliteit van wetenskapjoernalistiek in Suid-Afrika, op die Afrika-kontinent en wêreldwyd, is daar bykans geen navorsing oor die persoonlike ervarings en persepsies van wetenskapjoernaliste in Suid-Afrika nie. Hierdie studie ondersoek die toestand van wetenskapjoernalistiek in Suid-Afrika, volgens dié in die bedryf. Die navorsing is uitgevoer met behulp van die interpretatiewe paradigma en fenomenologiese benadering in sosiale teorie as teoretiese raamwerk. Die navorser het kwalitatiewe navorsingsmetodes gebruik en het 'n deelnemende waarnemingstudie onderneem. Data is ingesamel deur middel van kwalitatiewe, semi-gestruktureerde, in-diepte onderhoude met 20 wetenskapjoernaliste, wetenskapskommunikasiespesialiste en wetenskapskrywers in Suid-Afrika. Die navorser het data oor deelnemers se menings en persepsies oor die toestand van wetenskapjoernalistiek, uitdagings op die gebied van wetenskapjoernalistiek, die verhouding tussen wetenskaplikes en joernaliste, die rol van wetenskapkommunikasie, die waarde van nagraadse studie in wetenskapjoernalistiek, die belangrikheid en waarde van die Suid-Afrikaanse Wetenskapjoernalistiekvereniging en die toekoms van wetenskapjoernalistiek in Suid-Afrika ingesamel. Die navorsing het bevind dat daar beide positiewe en negatiewe sentimente by die deelnemers oor die wetenskaplike joernalistiek in Suid-Afrika is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105783
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